Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"A Sunset On Earth Is A Sunrise In Heaven...."

"A Sunset on Earth is A Sunrise in Heaven"
Matt Anderson


A year ago today, Mom left the arthritic, Parkinson's riddled and confused body that carried her through 80 years on this earth and witnessed a "SUNRISE" like none of us could imagine in our wildest dreams.

Today is a day of special remembering......and blessings!!!

From my prayer journal on this day last year:

"....Oh Father, thank You for the blessing....yes....the BLESSING and GRACE of taking her home to be with You where she feels no more pain, no more anguish, where she is young once again and HAPPY.  Father, my heart is leaping for joy that she is no longer a captive in the worn out body she occupied up until today at 1:11 pm.  Father, thank You for answering our prayers for her....thank You for the promise of being a loving, caring, merciful God to us. 

I believe, in some small corner of her mind, she knew her family was ready.  Thank You for placing me in the family that I am in.....Thank You for the mother You gave me.....I know her life wasn't always easy....matter of fact....most of the time it was quite difficult....but she endured, she continued to love, she continued to reflect You in her life....and she taught us all to love You.  Bless her, Father, and tell her today how very very much she was loved here on earth.  Oh to have been a bug on the wall of Heaven today to see her homecoming!! 

Father, thank You for all the love and support and prayers that have been given on my behalf.  There are no words that I can find to describe the gratefulness that I feel towards those who love me.  One never really knows how much they are loved until times like this.  I realize most people have been down the road I'm currently traveling on missing my Mom....my best friend...and I hope that it makes me a more understanding.....better friend....to others when they walk the road I'm walking right now. Thank You for these kind folks....."


 Today.....I'm so very THANKFUL for the memories of Mom that I will carry with me, tucked deeply in my soul, until the day I take my last breath.




Sunday, April 28, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: "God's Will and My Mom

GOD'S WILL and MY MOM


"We are assured and know that (God being a partner in our labor) all things work together and are (fitting into a plan) for good to and for those who love God and are called according to (His) design and purpose."

Romans 8:28 (Amp.)



What do you think of when you read this verse above



I think of this time last year.  This very day last year, my Mom only had 2 days left on this earth.  My sister and I had just finished donating most of her clothes; clothes that I could look at and remember where I saw her wear them to....clothes that smelled like her....clothes that reminded me of happier times....clothes that embraced her life.  I squeezed her clothes close to me as if I were holding Mom close to me one last time before handing them over to someone else to wear.....



In much the same way, I handed Mom over to her Savior two days later....the very one that guaranteed.....GUARANTEED.....me that His will was being done in her life.....because she LOVED Him......and she BELIEVED in His will.
 



Is it possible for my heart to feel unimaginable aching with grief and yet, at the same time, the feeling of overwhelming euphoria?  Yes....cause it was God's will.



Between my selfish tears I'm dropping right now of my own loss.....nothing more....just my own loss,  I would like to share with you a snippet from my "prayer journal" this very day last year....



"I thank You, Father, for the time You have given us to prepare for Mom departing this world and entering a new, eternal, beautiful world with You.  I just want You to know that You will have the priviledge of having my best friend, a wonderful, thoughtful woman that You originally made, entering through those amazing gates to Heaven soon.  Take good care of her, show her around, let her sister Hazel be her first visit after seeing You and remind her that I loved her so very much and that she was the best Mom and Friend a daughter could have ever hoped for.  Let her know that, Father...ok?"


Yes, Mom WAS God's Will.

GROWING SEEDS -" Blue Sunday"

DAY OF PRAYER


“Who is the GREATEST in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child, and had him stand among them.  And he said,
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little CHILDREN,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:1-3)


A number of years ago, my sister and her husband decided to become foster parents to abused children in the DFW area.  As the children filed through their home one by one, some staying a few days, others staying a few years, you would have thought these kids came from a third world country instead of the modern Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex they grew up in.  Their living conditions were atrocious and included some living in homes with dirt floors, while others were living in abusive homes where one parent would shave the head of the child to prevent the other parent from pulling any more of the child's hair out.  It was unbelievable to realize this abuse was happening practically in our own backyard.

I tell you this because today is considered Blue Sunday, a Day of Prayer for the victims of child abuse.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1,570....that's
1,570....
children DIED from child abuse and over 3 million others were also confirmed victims of child abuse in 2011.  How is it we never hear about these 3,001,570

Blue Sunday began over 14 years ago when 20 churches took time in during their worship service on the last Sunday in April (Child Abuse Prevention Month) to pray for the victims of child abuse and those who rescue them.  The effort has grown to include more than 2.5 million participants.  Blue Sunday Child Abuse Prevention Initiative believes change can occur when working hand in hand with the faith community (churches) to raise awareness and bring relief for the victims of child abuse.  


Churches are encouraged to do the following:

* Pray for the children who are victims of child abuse
* Pray for those who rescue and serve abused children
* Pray for direction to become active participants in the battle against child abuse.

One way to become an active participant is for those of us working with children or youth within the church, to complete some or all of the 4 steps of the MinistrySafe Safety System.  Whether a full time or a part time volunteer, it is critical and mandatory we complete these steps and learn to identify victims of child abuse. 

So I encourage you to take a few quiet minutes today, just you and God on this Blue Sunday, and lift up those in prayer that are being abused even as you read this.    And don't forget to pray for those who rescue them......

"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”  (Matt. 18:4-5)


Sunday, April 21, 2013

GROWING SEEDS - "Lost Sheep"

"I Was Lost.....But Now I'm Found"


I was always a strong-willed child growing up.  My father routinely called me the "rebellious one" in the family......which I, of course, adamantly disagreed with him on.  But I did have a habit of wandering off on my own.....not thinking too much of the consequences.....and finding myself alone and in a heap of trouble many (most) times. 


  
 Once while visiting my Grandma-In-The-Woods (that's what we called her) in the forests of Alabama, I eagerly volunteered to walk the 1/2 mile down the old country road to collect the mail for her.  As I arrived at the mailbox, I noticed there were 3 different roads that all intersected together I hadn't observed before.  I immediately felt drawn to check out what was down one of these other roads.  I explored for awhile and soon headed back to the mailbox intersection, but when I got back to the intersection, I couldn't remember which road was Grandma's. I remember standing there for a few long minutes; looking at all 3 intersecting roads, feeling the terror in my stomach of a lost and confused 7 year old, and although I can't remember exactly how I chose the road I chose; most likely "Eenie-Meenie-Minie-Moe", I chose the "wrong" road.  I walked for what seemed like hours and nothing looked familiar.  Tears are now pouring....no....GUSHING....out of my eyes and I can still, 46 years later, remember the fear of being alone....Lost.

I finally came upon an old house and while sobbing, scared and praying desperately that they were nice people, I headed up the steps to the front door.  I'll never forget the relief of seeing a nice lady open the door, taking me by the hand and between my sobs, determining who I belonged to.  She called Grandma-In-The-Woods and my Dad quickly came and retrieved his strong-willed, rebellious child; hugging and wrapping me in his big loving arms and carrying me back home......never once scolding me for wandering off.....just relieved to have this curious child of his back.

This week's scripture reminded me of that time many years ago.  "Look at it this way.  If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one?  And if he finds it, doesn't he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put?  Your Father in heaven feels the same way.  He doesn't want to lose even one of these simple believers." (Matt. 18:12-14). 


I was that lost sheep......alone....scared.....unable to find my way back to my Shepherd.....

I
n more ways than one. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our Wedding.......16 Years Later

It's our 16th Wedding Anniversary Today......


Sixteen years........sometimes feels like a lifetime......other times, like yesterday.  As I type this, he's laying on the couch snoring.....one dog on the top of the couch above him...the other laying on the floor beside him and the cat at his feet......and I'm feeling very blessed right now.


I can still remember every minute detail of our wedding day.  We were married in the amazing garden-setting backyard of our home in Dallas on a beautiful Sunday evening.  The day started off with friends hoisting furniture out of the living room, balancing past the pool and into the garage......My brother and my then 12 year old nephew, Lance (who is now an officer in the Marines), wiring the sound system and my Mom, who was my Maid of Honor, and I getting our hair done by my sweet friend Frosty.  My sister was in charge of everything, including our wedding coordinator that we affectionately named Elvira, as she looked like a funeral director with her jet black hair, super white skin and scary attitude.

Mom was complaining cause her feet were killing her in the shoes she had picked out.....yet she looked amazing.  She painfully talked about those shoes for the next 14 years.  Our dog, Kiki, was our ring bearer and half way down the aisle, decided to make a RUN for it with our rings tied around his neck....so the bride (ME) had to go retrieve him and the rings.  I remember thinking the pianist must have forgotten how to end the last song, "The Lord's Prayer" as I think it went on for 15 minutes and Chuck was starting to weave.  Chuck's Dad (now deceased) gave the opening prayer and my Dad gave the closing prayer.  My Mom (now deceased) stood next to me and Chuck's son, Troy, stood next to him. 

Our wedding vows included me promising "to always put Chuck's garage tools away when I used them" and Chuck promising "to do all the cooking".  The moment we said "I do", a blue bird in the nearby tree starting singing at the top of its lungs and a breeze threatened to blow my veil from my head.  That very moment.....it was magical.....it was right.

And then everyone clapped.

A helicopter then scooped down low over our house and I remember thinking, "Wow, Charlie arranged for a helicopter to take us away...." but I think it was just a police helicopter looking for criminals........after all, we did live in Dallas.

Blessed........awwwww........so very blessed.

A lot has happened in the last 16 years.......good and bad.....funny and sad,  and I'm so grateful for every minute God has given us over that time.

And God-willing, we'll have 16 more.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Murphy's New Girlfriend.....LUCY

Murphy's New Girlfriend....




Wanted to give a quick "shout-out" to Murphy's latest girlfriend....Lucy Hood.  


Lucy is a dog-actress......just completed her first movie called "Queen of the Sprinklers".  Here is a trailer of her upcoming movie soon to be released.....

Sit back and enjoy.....and don't forget to go see her new movie when it comes out!!


Lucy - Sprinkler Detective


Sunday, April 14, 2013

GROWING SEEDS - Crafty Ladies

"NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY"

 How many times have I heard "No Experience Necessary" throughout my life only to find there was a "catch"?  Well, not this time!!  The Crafty Ladies of First United Methodist Church are looking for "No Experience Necessary" ladies to join them on Thursdays for a fun morning of hot glueing, painting, sewing and stirring of the creative juices!

Being the "Hot Glue Queen" myself, I can totally relate to these ladies.  Every curtain....every bedskirt....every shirt of Chuck's is being held together with hot glue in my house.  And as these Crafty Ladies get together every Thursday morning to laugh, talk, visit, hot glue and have lunch together, they are working towards their final goal of the year:  The "FALL CRAFT BIZARRE"
..oops....I mean "BAZAAR"!

Because of prior year proceeds from the Crafty Ladies Fall Craft Bazaar, our church has been able to purchase new computers which, in turn, helped us order new microphones and video services for the sanctuary online which, in turn, helped you be able to hear us tell you about the new bus tires their proceeds purchased which was able to bring more people to church luncheons where their funds paid for new pots, pans and dinnerware.....and don't even get me started on the sprinkler system and the updates to the church's parsonage their craft proceeds paid for.  This past year, their proceeds paid 100% of the new Parlor Renovation, which was recently completed and benefits us all.



So ladies, if you're looking for FUN, FELLOWSHIP and FRIENDS, meet us in the Craft Room on Thursday mornings at 9:30 AM in the Family Life Center!! 

Be sure and contact Becky Arterbury at 903-860-3661 or Nicki Armstrong at 903-860-2976 for more details!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Am I Still Welcome In Your Inbox??


I feel like a stranger to Murphy's Mom Blog these days......it's been EONS since I've written and I'm not really sure why.   But I miss talking to you.......sharing all the crazy things that seem to happen daily in my life.  I hope I'm still welcome in your inbox!

Just to catch you up to speed........so far this year, we have spent no less than 98 days (maybe a "slight" exaggeration) in doctors offices or hospitals.  When you're married to a man with Multiple Sclerosis, you become used to the unexpected.

A couple months ago, we went to Dallas for Chuck's routine dermatology appointment and left 5 days later after a stay in the hospital for congestive heart failure.   The fact we live 2 hours away; brought no extra clothes, no laptop, no cell chargers and my husband has not yet learned what the big red letters that say "NURSE" on the hospital bed remote control means, I was parked in a hospital room staring out a window with a view of a wall for 5 days.  But crazy as it sounds, these no laptop, cell chargers or views times have been some of the best times we've spent together.  No "pings" from the cell....no "ding dongs" from emails.....

We plan on taking our next vacation to St. Paul Hospital in the Fall.

Hospital stay behind us, we could now concentrate on the skin cancer growing on the top of his head.  So, a few weeks ago, he had a Mose Surgery to remove the basil cell growing in place of hair on his head.  One of the benefits of being bald, I guess.  And being that I'm the "Skin Cancer Queen" and had numerous Mose surgeries myself, I kept telling him it was no big deal...you won't even see where they cut.  Chuck was convinced he was having "brain surgery".  Turns out, they left a HOLE in my hubby's head the size of a quarter.....actually, the size of a cork.  I "think" I could actually see his brain when he would take the cork out.  I would beg him to put it back in......


So his son, Troy, provided him with an alternative to the cork by buying him a hat with hair.....which I LOVE!  And because I keep telling him how "HOT" he looks with his new "Hair Hat", he wears it everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  While at the eye doctor last week, she had to ask him to "Please remove his hair" before she could test his eyes. 


Life is always interesting with this wonderful man.......he rarely complains.....he wears a hat with hair on it cause I love it......and he whispers, ever so quietly, sweet things in my ear first thing in the morning "Liz....Liz.....what's the password to my computer?"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

GROWING SEEDS - "Our Church Blessings"


 
I don’t think Easter is quite done with me yet.....so, I’m going to linger here for a bit longer if that's okay.
As I've mentioned before, Easter wasn't a major religious event I grew up with.  Since coming to the First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon, I have been blessed over and over again by the beauty....yes, I said beauty.......of Christ's death and resurrection.  It was a painful, ugly time when He walked on this earth years ago, but today......today it's the bright shining Promise we hold securely in our hearts.  
 
Starting with the burnt palm leaves known as Ash Wednesday over a month ago......to Resurrection Day known as Easter Sunday last week, we, as a church family, have been blessed every step of the way.  Blessed to have a pastor who holds each of our hands and walks us down the path Christ walked over 2000 years ago so we can fully understand what His sacrifice means in each of our lives.
Blessed to have a Worship Team known as Betsy, Mark and Stephen who, week after week, unselfishly and tirelessly blend their many talents so we can feel the Holy Spirit touching our senses through song, music and video.  We worship on Holy Ground, folks.....and each of these amazing people are the ones "chosen" by God to bring His message each week to you.  
As you sit here in church reading this article, take a moment, look up and say a prayer of "Thanks" to God for blessing our little church in such a BIG way.
 
 
WE ARE SO VERY BLESSED...... 
BLESSED INDEED!

Monday, April 1, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: 'Postcards from Grandma-In-The-Woods"

 
 
POSTCARDS FROM
GRANDMA-IN-THE-WOODS


Growing up, we would visit my Grandma Calloway in the summers who us grandkids affectionally called "Grandma-In-The-Woods" due to the deep woods of Alabama she and Grandpa Calloway lived in.  She was, by far, the most precious Grandma a shy, overweight little girl with a bad china doll haircut could ever ask for.  She pulled water from the well each morning so we could bathe, fed the chickens in a rickety old chicken shack, stomped out the big-as-a-house crickets for us, had a working (??) outhouse and made us homemade biscuits every morning.  But the thing I remember the most about Grandma-In-The-Woods was she loved to write letters and send post cards. 

Even with 11 grand kids and a grumpy Grandpa-In-The-Woods husband, she "made" the time to send each of us cards, letters and always....ALWAYS.....reminded us at the end of her letter that "God loved us.....time was short.....get your life right now" and "as much as she loved us, God loved us more."

I remember getting these letters....smiling at the poor spelling....and thinking "yeah yeah yeah" when reading the last part about God loving me more than her and getting my life right.  Just another letter or card from Grandma.  Just another postcard.....

Funny thing about getting older; you start appreciating those things which meant so little to you just a few years before.  I would give my right arm to find a letter or postcard with Grandma-In-The-Woods' handwriting on it today.  I would be tickled pink to see those misspelled words again.  Interesting how they mean so much more to me now than they ever did then.....

My goal from this day forward is to mail at least one postcard or letter each week to someone who could use an uplifting misspelled word or two.  Something they could actually hold in their hand....place in their Bible.....tuck away in their journal.....to be read again at a later date, when they needed to be reminded of their worth and that God truly, truly does love them so very much.

Won't you join me?

"Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -
it will make ripples throughout the entire pond."